Images of morning
By EMMA P VALENCIA, MD
I’M WALKING one block to get my morning coffee.
Gosh, my throat is parched, can’t wait to feel the hot black liquid on my throat and put a little fire in my belly.
Twelve hours fasting to know my FBS, lipid profile etc.- not difficult, actually, but waiting for my first taste of liquid is agony.
This fast food chain is open 24/7. That also means round the clock offers of burger and fries –a great combination to clog the arteries with, ha, ha. But here I am, can’t wait to reach this “heart-breaker” establishment.
What an irony. But hey, who is guilt-free these days? It’s just coffee, and sugar free sweetener. And, ok, one hush brown. A security guard opens the door and greets me – “Good morning ma’m, welcome!”.
He is not quite 30-yrs old, unlike the greeters in WalMart who could not finish their spiel of Good morning, welcome to WalMart without coughing. The counter girls are all breezy - it’s 8am, their voices are still not tired getting orders and their legs do not ache yet from all that standing and running.
At 8 o’clock, this joint is full of customers: 70% with graying hair, the gentlemen with thinning hairs and receding hairlines, a number with toupees (yes sir, I know it’s a toupee), the nearly golden ladies with painted nails , bobbed hair , mostly in sneakers and jogging pants.
They talk loud - these ladies, about their schedules for this December-party of this and that on Friday, meeting with the ladies club, what gift to give to the birthday celebrant, etc.
Hmm, these golden girls don’t seem to have a care in the world. I wonder, do they ever think that 40% of Filipinos will not have a Christmas Noche Buena this year?
Over there are some perpetually occupied yuppies - yes, you easily recognize them, well dressed, sitting in a nearly catatonic manner , eyes fixed, heads bowed over their tablets, just their fingers moving to show that they are still alive and not in rigor mortis.
On my right are, I surmise, call center agents, who probably just got off from duty and having their first meal of the day - scrambled eggs, sausage, fried rice and coke,
Yes, no coffee for breakfast - they are just dying to hit the sack. Just eating quietly, no small talk, unlike the golden girls over there with their ringing laughter.
But who would like to talk at breakfast after talking for 12 hours straight to people in a different time zone who still have the morning energy to shout expletives , while they, the graveyard shifters working at the other side of the globe, try to keep their eyelids and brains open ?
Right in front of me is a mother and child tandem. I guess this mom has no time to cook breakfast for her kid, so she just brings him over to this popular fast food chain for, what is that? Fried rice 2 cups, 2 sausages, 1 longganisa, 2 hush browns. Great.
Another would be patient for early diabetes and obesity.
I am finished with my coffee and with my guilty conscience taking over, I leave my deep fried, hush brown half eaten. I take a tricycle going home - the most convenient mode of transportation hereabouts.
I’m home in under 10 minutes, I open the door and my 6 dogs rush to greet me, elbowing each other to be the lucky one who will get the first pat on the head. It’s 9am. My day is just beginning.
(Dr EMMA P Valencia, MD, is a Health Policy Analyst, writer, poet and journalist, who shuttles between Manila and California. She once worked with Senator Eduardo J Angara to assist him on important health policy legislations.)